Thornton Wilder biography
At Writers Theatre: Our Town
Three time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and novelist Thronton Wilder was born in 1897 in Madison, Wisconsi. He receieved most of his early education in China, where his father was in the American consular service. His plays, like his novels, usually maintain that true meaning and beauty found in ordinary experience. Wilder's first important literary work was the novel The Bridge of San Lius Rey (1927 Pulitzer), which probes the lives of victims of a bridge disaster in Peru. Among his other novels are The Cabala (1926), The Woman of Andros (1930), Heaven's My Destination (1934), The Ides of March (1948), The Eight Day (1967), an old-fashioned saga about two families that is also a mystery story and an exploration of chance and human destiny, and Theophilus North (1973), a comic account of the experiences of an unusual young man living in Newport, R.I. during the summer of 1929.
Although he had written one-act plays, including The Angel That Troubled the Waters (1928) and The Long Christmas Dinner (1931). Wilder did not achieve critical recognition as a playwright until the production of his second full length play Our Town (1938 Pulitzer). Wilder won his third Pulitzer with The Skin of Our Teeth (1942 Pulitzer), which many likened to James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. Wilder's other plays include The Merchant of Yonkers (1938), which was revised as The Matchmaker (1954) and adapted, by others, into the successful musical Hello Dolly! (1963), and Plays for Bleecker Street (1962), one-act plays from his projected "Seven Ages of Man" and "Seven Deadly Sins" cycles. In 1965, Wilder was awarded the first National medal for Literature. Wilder died in 1975.
[Bio as of December 2003]